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A case to supporting small businesses this Christmas

CHRISTMAS in the Philippines is so ingrained in our culture that CNBC has claimed that our country celebrates this season the longest globally. Enter the first "ber" month, and while malls may have Halloween displays, Christmas decorations are sold alongside these while blasting Jose Mari Chan Christmas classics.

As we all prepare our Christmas lists, it may be good to consider choosing gifts from locally owned and made companies. Sometimes, it's tempting to default to our usual shopping platforms, but looking at locally made products gives one a chance to give unique gifts while boosting the economy. After all, purchasing locally ensures money goes back to Filipinos.

Not convinced? Here are a few reasons why supporting local companies is not just showing support for fellow Filipinos; it also benefits you.

Unique and thoughtful gifting: You know that feeling when you give a gift and the receiver's face lights up and asks you to please tell them where you found this? Whether it's unique snacks or artisan finds, receiving a one-of-kind gift rather than recognizable brands feels different. It also makes the receiver appreciate the gift more as it shows that you, the gift-giver, gave a lot more thought when purchasing than buying mass-produced items. Consider Amami.PH, a brand employing traditional methods to craft jewelry, resulting in truly one-of-a-kind art pieces. Similarly, brands like The Olive Tree offer customization services, adding a personal touch to your gift. Even beyond artisanal brands, discovering a new, locally rooted favorite brand through gifting is a delightful experience worth savoring.

Economic impact: Beyond the immediate joy of giving, supporting local businesses carries profound economic implications. While purchasing from large conglomerates often channels funds back to foreign entities, choosing local ensures that money stays within our communities. This circulation of funds supports Filipino families, suppliers, and ancillary local businesses. Moreover, a thriving local business scene contributes to developing our nation's economic landscape, ushering in positive changes in lifestyle and infrastructure. For example, there are more pet-friendly initiatives, from malls allowing pets indoors to LGUs conducting free trap, neuter, and release programs due to the influx of local pet brands. With the birth of Sinigang Valley in Poblacion, Makati, the LGU executed more start-up-friendly procedures and tax benefits to support the local tech scene.

Quality and environmental impact: Remember how appliances made in the past seem to be a lot more durable? That's because, these days, many items can be mass-produced. While this allows lower costs, this also means that they don't last very long. Many local businesses still practice handcrafting items or making their products in smaller quantities. This ensures that you get more bang for your buck. Going back to pet care, reviews for Fetch! Naturals show how some only bathe their pet 1x a week since the shampoos effectively keep that wet-dog smell at bay. Plus, they use locally sourced ingredients, which lessens the carbon footprint produced versus the consumption needed to import products. BowHouse, another local brand, has reviews of not only producing aesthetic pet furniture that will fit well in your home, but they also tend to withstand a puppy's hyperactive digging and, occasionally, chewing. In cosmetics, brands like Human Heart Nature, known for their innovative, personal care items, and Forest Magic, a pioneer in Gugo made products, champion thoughtful ingredient choices, promoting environmentally conscious consumer habits. Established local brands such as Colourette Cosmetics and Bayo exemplify the commitment to high-quality products, from creating high-pigment makeup to embracing slow fashion, proving that local doesn't compromise on excellence.

Supporting local businesses this holiday season transcends the act of gift-giving; it becomes a conscious choice to contribute to the growth of our local communities. Choosing local means celebrating the richness of our culture and fostering economic resilience. Each purchase becomes a statement in this endeavor, echoing the belief that a thriving local economy is key to a thriving and prosperous nation.

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